Preface: I am a 22 years old female, non smoker, don't drink or do drugs, am healthy and in great shape.
My whole life I've had somewhat dark circles, but they never were a problem since they are easily covered with concealer. But as I entered my mid-teens I was losing baby fat and then some (admittedly in an unhealthy way- I had anorexia nervosa which contributed to immense physical scrutiny on my part); the mania that follows depriving your body of nutrients led my mind to become absolutely obsessive about certain body parts, specifically my under eyes which had lost much volume due to the weight drop. Looking back now at baby pictures I can see that I always had slight dark circles under my eye and what some may harshly call "tear trough deformity" but it certainly never bothered me then and nobody ever gave me cause to be self conscious.
Anyway- after the hollows became more apparent I became obsessed with trying to conceal them. Like a sick person. I would show up late for school every day because I was trying to hide my under eye circles with makeup, I'd have my makeup and mirror out in nearly every class for touching up, I would have a panic attack if I went somewhere without my concealer and a mirror nearby. I knew that hollowness reacted to lighting more than anything and makeup simply cannot cover up shadow, but hey, my mind was clearly warped with lots of things and so I chose to believe that I could hide my under eyes if I had just enough makeup on.
Well- that was a long time ago. I am happy to say that since then I have completely, 100% recovered from my eating disorder, have shed the crippling body dysmorphia and lack of confidence and I have since graduated from the top fashion design school in the country this year and am now making my living from the women's t-shirt business I started. The girl I was as a teenager is like a stranger to me, except for that one lingering fixation: my under eye hollows.
Surgery/ injections weren't an option for me since I was submerged in school work and internships for my 4 years of college, and my parents were not willing to pay for me to get any type of surgical procedure because they felt it was something I should pay for myself (but my mother always filled my Christmas stockings with the latest dark circle treatment creams and volume restorers which sadly did jack-sh*t to help my eyes.)
*DECIDING ON FILLERS*
When my business began taking off, I immediately thought about getting my tear troughs filled because after trying everything imaginable, I felt that the least I could do was have a consultation with one of the best doctors in NYC. While I do work from home every day, I am often asked to model, act and partake in really fabulous shoots with photographers. I am a somewhat prominent figure in the blogging community as well as the cosplay community and my pictures/ looks are honestly probably 40% of the reason why I've gotten the recognition I've gotten thus far. But without good lighting or a bright camera flash, all I can see is hollow, tired, old eyes that reflect nothing close to the woman I am inside. It makes me avoid photoshoots of me in my designs or modeling other people's work in makeup, special FX or costume design. And after trying so hard to accept myself and work with what I had to no avail, I decided to stop trying to make myself into a martyr for being "above" surgical modification if it would make my brain shut up and focus on more important things.
So far it's been the best thing I ever bought.
*GETTING THE FILLERS*
After hearing nothing but amazing things on Dr. Shafer on multiple websites, I researched him and learned about his exceedingly sufficient qualifications: double board certified, graduated from the top medical schools in the country with honors, earned many awards for his surgical work, history with restoring the faces and bodies of burn victims, and this is just to name a few. I got the feeling that he was a true artist like me, and what helped me let myself do this procedure is the fact that this is his art form, it is what he is great at and loves doing. If I cannot fix it, why not go to someone who can and will? So after reading as much as I can about the procedure and making a list of questions for the doctor, I made my consultation.
That consultation was today. I anticipated just learning about the procedure and having him decide whether or not he can help me (I was actually worried I was too severe a case for him to help), but it turns out I was given the option to get the surgery the same day, which would mean that I don't pay for the consultation OR the follow up appointment, I pay for the one syringe of Juvederm, which is $1000 and is good for two separate filling sessions.
Dr. Shafer himself is a lovely person, instantly warm and attentive. Answered all of my questions and had a confidence- but not an arrogance- that quelled my anxious mind. The consultation part was not as investigative as I had imagined, but that's because I really had no idea how he would decide if/ when/ how he could improve my tear trough deformity. We talked for about 10 minutes about everything- my basic concerns, my wish to reduce the hollowness of my under eyes but not as to make me look plastic or like somebody else, what the procedure entails, the after-care. Then I decided to go for it. Especially after the consultation, I couldn't see why not do it now.
When I say that it was an easy procedure, I couldn't be more exaggerative. Getting my teeth cleaned is a tougher procedure to deal with, getting my lip pierced was a tougher procedure, getting a manicure is more arduous. It was the emotional and physical equivalent of getting my ears pierced. Now to be fair, I am not at all scared of needles and I am very tough when it comes to pain- I will wear the corset, dance in the stilettos, and endure the pain that comes before outer fabulousness. I mean, if inner fabulousness is harvested after one feels inner turmoil and hardship, why is it any different as far as our outer self satisfaction? But yet I cannot imagine even the most needle-phobic person being bothered by this. The only needle you feel is the teensy one which administers a small amount of numbing solution around the eye area, and even that prick is so slight due to the ice pack having been applied for a couple minutes prior to. Getting blood draw is more needle-happy than this, at least from what you can physically feel. After withdrawing the needle (which I could not even feel) Dr. Shafer showed me the syringe which would be administering the Juvederm Ultra. I was surprised to see that it looked like the blunt eye end of a sewing needle, and seemed a teensy bit thick, but I trusted him and felt relaxed. He explained that the needle looked that way because the product must be laid flat while being injected, and that the cannula was flexible so it could reach every essential application zone through the one tiny hole.
The sensation of the cannula in my face was very odd, but I liked it! It was new and not at all painful or uncomfortable, I'd just imagine that the more squeamish people may be a little weirded out by the sensation. It feels like something cold is wriggling around your sinuses, all the way to the bridge of your nose. And the injecting itself lasted about 5 minutes for both eyes. Like I said, simple.
When Dr. Shafer gave me the mirror to take a gander, I could see the results through my smudged makeup instantly. It was not like all of a sudden I had a 100% filled up under eye, but that is good because I do not want to hide the fact that I have eye sockets and eye sockets don't just go from your bottom lash line to your cheek. I wanted the deepness to be relieved and made less drastic, and that is what I got. I don't look like I've had anything "done", I look like the me that I see in good lighting and camera flash, like the bright, happy, alert human that I really am.
As Dr. Shafer left the room and left me alone to fix my makeup and I had thanked him profusely, I held the mirror up to myself and saw the natural lighting illuminate my makeup application. I used to abhor natural lighting, I felt it exacerbated everything I hated about my eyes, and it would get me so down. But as I touched up I was blown away with how I was not cringing at the reflection of my eyes. It was like a miracle.
When I left the office, there was still no swelling or bruising, just amazing results. Something you should know: I HATE walking outside in daylight without my sunglasses. Yes, the eye hollow obsession knows no bounds. I feel very self conscious usually when walking outside with no sunglasses, but this time I walked down 5th avenue and felt people noticing me and I did not suspect that they were looking at my horrible bags, but my energy and confidence. I decided to walk all the way back to my apartment, 30 blocks away, and I enjoyed myself the entire time. It felt so wonderful to finally be free from the psychological barrier these eye hollows had given me.
It has been 12 hours since my surgery, and I'm surprised that I have not bruised at all and have only just gotten the TINIEST bit of swelling, seeing as I bruise and swell pretty easily whenever I am injured or pierced. I noticed a very very dull, hardly noticeable tenderness/ aching to the injection site, which went away as I took a shower and very gently removed all my makeup, lightly massaged my under eyes and then put ice under my eyes as I watched TV. When I took all of my makeup off I still had dark circles, but far less dark and scary than normal. But like I said way in the beginning of this: I have accepted that I have dark circles because I am Italian and it is how my skin and facial structure are, plus the darker pigment is easily covered with concealer. What I was driven insane with was trying to conceal the shadow, which was impossible. Now there is no epic shadow, so there is no need for slathering on the concealer and touching up over and over- as of now, those dark circles are gone with a quick pat of makeup whereas before I would have to spend at LEAST a half hour on concealing to feel adequately okay.
The doctor said that the intended results won't show up for about a week, so I am keeping in mind that things may change, and I would be happy if the product did settle to the point where it gave me a tiny bit more volume. But if not, I made my follow up appointment for 2 weeks from now, and I only used half of my syringe and I can always get more injected if I still feel it's necessary. I am personally glad that my doctor has a "less is more" mentality with this because I'd MUCH rather need a little bit more than be given way too much and be left looking ridiculously unnatural.
I should also note that my dark circles are considerably worse when I'm overtired, which I am- only got 4 hours of sleep last night due to work and excitement- so I am very excited to see if things look even better with a good nights' rest!
I plan to keep this updated, to help people like me who had similar feelings about their eyes or who are similar to me in my stats and would like to see how someone like me reacts/ responds to fillers. If you've read this far, god bless you, I feel like I just wrote a college term paper. Could be because I'm running on 4 hours though...
Goodnight, all! Here's hoping for a good day tomorrow as well.